With college graduation on the horizon, now is the time to start your job search (assuming you’re not en route to graduate school). I know. It’s hard to work up the energy for it — you’re distracted by a thousand and one minor things like classes, homework, exams, and papers. Not to mention what little social life you have left after coming home from your part-time job.
And while I hate to bring another dose of reality — finding a full-time, well-paying job isn’t easy these days. You’re up against a lot of competition — just look around at your classmates. (And that’s just one institution….)
Be smart. Get started ASAP. There’s no time to waste. And it can be a lot easier, and more fun than you think. You just need a plan to help you get organized.
Think of your job search as a full-time project that you manage. Your project’s goal is to get a job you love, with a company you’ll be proud to represent, at a fair salary. Knowing what the finish line looks like is half the battle. Now it’s time to gather up all the details and organize them into a plan. There are seven components:
Resumes, cover letters, work samples, references, social media accounts, job titles you’re interested in and qualify for. You also want to gather any personality assessments, style inventories, strengths and weaknesses assessments, passions and interests evaluations. (Not that you’d share them with others.) You want to keep them close at hand to remind you of what you’re good at and what you want to get help with. They comes in handy whenever you’re offered a job that isn’t the “perfect” fit or a company or manager that feels “off.”
Industries you’re interested in and employers in those industries. Be sure to note each employer’s address, phone, website, and any people in management or people you know who work there (and their contact information). This helps you when you’re sending out emails or snail mail, or calling people to get appointments., whether for job interviews, or informational interviews, or to refer you to the right person.
Networking / Research
List of networking groups, associations, local or virtual, that you can join to meet people and make connections. Your goal is to help others, because by doing that, they’ll start helping you. You’ll meet people who work for the companies you’re interested in and find out what working there is really like. Also researching on websites such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor, etc., to discover more about the firms you’re interested in. This helps you prepare for your interviews (questions to ask, comments to make), write your cover letters, decide whether it’s the right firm (or job) for you, etc.
Tracking all of your appointments on a schedule so you know where you have to be and when, and can prepare accordingly. The last thing you need is to over-commit yourself and be late. You also want to keep a running list of great interview questions to ask. And note down any interview questions you had a difficult time answering. That way you can practice a better answer for whenever it comes up again.
Thank you letters, follow-up letters to confirm appointments, check on progress, etc.
You’ll want to be up on the latest salary negotiation tactics and which ones are effective for your circumstances. Every industry is slightly different, as is every company. Gather the information so you have it at your fingertips and can refer to it at will.
You’ll want checklists to remind you of all the stuff you need to do in each category and set deadlines for them so they get done in time.
Phew! That’s an awful lot of stuff! How do you wrap your arms around it all?
Meet Ann Stephenson
Ann is a recent college graduate.* She decided to use Samepage to organize and manage her job search. Ann chose Samepage because it was quick and easy to learn. Most importantly, Samepage let her organize all her “stuff” in one place, no matter what kind of information it was. So now, she can quickly glance at her appointment calendar, review her resumes, write new cover letter versions, jot down some great interview questions to use, and quickly get over and check all the job boards she’s posted her resume to. She can even see what thank you notes she needs to send out so she doesn’t fall behind.
Samepage lets her put spreadsheets, documents, presentations, graphics, photos, videos, and task lists in one location. It even lets her track tasks, set due dates, and make comments to herself so she doesn’t forget things. Samepage even lets her share pages with other people who can also make comments and offer suggestions to her.
Ann’s well on her way to nailing her first job. She’s already had two job interviews and expects one of those will come through for a second interview. And she’s just getting started!
If you want a quick, easy, and affordable (free!) tool to organize your job search, head on over to Samepage and get started today.
*Ann is a fictional student any resemblance to persons, real or fictional, is purely accidental and not deliberate in any way.